- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Powerful women and teen Girl Scouts joined forces to share leadership ideas, skills and stories last week during Camp CEO.
Girl Scouts from the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, which encompasses areas in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, spent a week at Camp Winona in Hughesville, where 28 Scouts joined up with 28 female CEOs who ditched their business suits for casual attire and mentored girls on leadership.
Lidia Soto-Harman, CEO of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, said the week was a chance to help explain what leadership is to the Girl Scouts in “a safe, beautiful environment.”
Soto-Harman said, “The girls can learn from the woman CEOs how to prepare oneself for leadership in the future.”
For Carolyn Stennett, deputy director general of the National Head Start Association, it’s about finding one’s passion.
She said the message that she wanted to deliver was to find a passion and “define success on your own terms.”
Stennett said her passion involved children and community building, making Head Start a clear choice for her.
From the girls, Stennett said she learned about self-confidence and the importance of expressing oneself.
Each Girl Scout was paired up with a CEO buddy during the week.
Stenett’s buddy was Natalia Norton, 17, of Manassas, Va.
Natalia said she learned a lot from her buddy even though she was looking to go into engineering and not work with children. Natalia said her buddy showed strong leadership abilities and through the week she could see where she could draw correlations between what Stennett does and what she would like to do.
When it comes to working with children, Natalia said she could take lessons from Stennett and apply them when she strives for her Gold Award, the highest award for Girl Scouts.
Natalia said she is looking to help second-grade students in Manassas with science and math.
Aside from trading skill sets with one another, campers participated in traditional camp activities such as hanging out by the campfire, swimming and making arts and crafts. Included in all of the activities were leadership themes and, of course, female leaders to look up to.
Abrar Omeish, 16, of Fairfax, Va., said like any camp, she and fellow campers are making new friends and learning about one another, but at the same time, with the CEOs participating, they are networking.
Abrar said she is learning from the CEOs’ experiences and challenges they overcame, which helps Abrar and other campers to build on their futures.
Retired physician Dr. Barbara Sutton, who used to run a medical practice in Colorado, said the campers all seemed interested in how the CEOs came to be in their professions and how they can improve on their leadership skills and work on their career choices.
Sutton recalled always having wanted to be in the medical profession.
She said in the 1970s becoming a medical doctor as a woman wasn’t the norm.
She said at the University of Virginia there were 110 students working to become doctors and 10 were women.
She said becoming a doctor and eventually running her own practice wasn’t easy and required “a lot of hard work.”
Sutton said campers really listened to the CEOs’ stories as a portion of the camp was an opportunity for CEOs to discuss how they reached their goals.
“They really seem interested in making the most of their lives,” she said.
Layilah Nasser, 16, of Montgomery Village said she likes the idea of meeting CEOs and spending time learning about one another.
Layilah, who is Miss Teen Montgomery Village International, said Camp CEO is “a perfect opportunity for Girl Scouts.”
Volunteering to be the on-site emergency medical technician for the camp, Anna Duranske of Hughesville found out about more than just Camp CEO, she found out about what Girl Scouts really are.
Having never been a part of Girl Scouts, Duranske, 20, said she thought it was the same as Boy Scouts a lot of camping and other outdoor activities.
“Its not, it’s a lot of character building,” she said.
This is the 14th Camp CEO the council has had and the first held in Southern Maryland, Soto-Harman said, adding that it likely would not be the last.